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Essay: Physical security survey

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  • Published: 30 September 2015*
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Prepared for Janet Garret, Director of Security
Magnolia Utility Citizens’ Cooperative
By: Top Notch Security
Interviewed:
Stacey Chang, Operations Director: currently a rotating supervisor in the Electric Way Branch Cash Management Area.
Margie Mason – South Street Office Cash Management Supervisor.
Dan Gorsky – Security Guard at Vehicle Yard Security Checkpoint.
Manny Videtti – Custodial and Warehouse Center Supervisor.
Scott Williams – Tool and Equipment Distribution Center Supervisor.
Number of employees: 32
Operating Hours:
Cash Management Area, Electric Way: 10 a.m. to noon; 2 p.m. to 5p.m.
Cash Management Area, South Street: 8a.m. to 6p.m.
Warehouse; TEDC: 5a.m.to midnight
Vehicle Yard: 24 hours

I. INTRODUCTION
As Broded states (2007) ‘The primary vehicle used in a security assessment is the survey. The survey is the process whereby one gathers data and reflects to who, what, how, where, when and why of the client’s existing operation. The survey is the fact-finding process.’ (p.45) Being assigned to do a survey at this facility it was a tremendous job to be done.
After meeting the Security Committee, I thing that the security posture in this organization it is not a really strong one; the impression that the Committee members was given it was that they are treating the security and the security manager like a joke; perhaps because the security manager did the right thing, calling and external specialized security firm to help out in solving some security issues. (Taking this way, the security manager is trying to convince the Committee to allow a bigger budget for the Security Department, and is something normal to proceed like this, asking for external help.)
II. STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
As soon as the survey has been started I’ve seen right the way where they have strengths and where they have weaknesses. Let’s start with the first location, on South Street.
1. Strengths
Vehicle yard:
‘ Good lock-and-key control procedures
‘ Good control over the movement and identification control over the employees and visitors on the company property.

2. Weaknesses
Cash management area:
Cash management area is poorly organized, with people not having the right security training such training id disclosure improper information.
‘ The counter is not enclosed
‘ The bathroom location
‘ Open safe on the wall
‘ Personal items at the view of everybody
‘ Security camera improperly positioned
‘ Improperly handling of the cash; improperly procedures
‘ No barriers to the cash box
‘ Supervisor does not have direct line of view of employees
Custodial office
‘ Improper organized, with documents that could be accessed by everybody at any time
TEDC and warehouse areas:
‘ Not a proper control over the entries
‘ Not a proper control over the personnel access
‘ Poorly lightening
‘ Improper display of the cleaning supply
‘ Improper visitor’s log
‘ Tool and Equipment Distribution Center-improper rules and procedures regarding the handling of equipment
Looking at the second location, things are different. Everything looks okay from the security’s point of view (signs, safety, etc.); there is one weakness in my opinion. Stacey is alternating her job between the two locations and the only the branch situated on Electrical Way is following the right procedures regarding the counter, bathroom position, wall safe, employees door, etc.

III. VULNERABILITIES
In the current posture of Magnolia we may identify a couple vulnerabilities that may affect their operations, especially at the South Street location. Here we have some of the possible vulnerabilities:
‘ Cashier’s processes and procedures in handling the company’s cash; this may conduct to cash theft
‘ Petty cash safety
‘ Improper access to the bathroom
‘ Not well protected counter and counter area
‘ Cash operations are visible to the public
‘ Partial barriers to the cash box
‘ Insecure lock box/safe
‘ Improper access of the genitors(as a part-time employees) at some sensitive areas during non-supervised hours

IV. THREATS
Threats are those things that exploit vulnerabilities in assets increasing the like hood of harm to them. Threats are classified in two parts: natural phenomena threats and man-made threats. As a part of natural threats we may talk about tornados, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc. Talking about man-made threats in our case, there are some other possible threats, such as cyber-attacks, fire, power failure, sabotage, robbery, (Due to the fact this location is at a medium risk.) etc. all these threat agents should be taken in consideration at the first location especially, which seems to be most exposed to them.

V. RECOMMENDATIONS
Being done with our survey, overall there some areas where we could make some recommendations that it will improve the security at Magnolia Utilities Citizen Group. First of all there is a need of new policies and procedures regarding some problems such as Cash Management area at the South Street location. One policy should be in regards of keeping personal items such as purses or any other small suitcases in special places; that would reduce the risk of ‘barrowing’ money or any other office supplies by the employee working into the Cash Management area.
Some other points in the policies should be in regards of properly handling the money that are received from the customers. Policies should be pass through all the employees working in this area and should be very precisely about all the operations regarding the money use and handling; there it should be included the specific duties of the supervisors. Also, the cameras should be placed that way that every movement could be covered, starting with the entrance, wall safe, etc.

In the Custodial area there should be a policy regarding the access of personnel during the unsupervised hours that will limited this personnel to have access to sensitive areas unless everything is secured and safe. That way we reduce the risk of theft, meaning even some important company information.

At the TEDC it should be a policy that will enforce the access and especially the entries that will be made; therefore ‘well-known’ people wouldn’t take some materials without a proper entry; all these entries should be computerized right the way. Additionally, it is recommended that the TEDC move to an entirely electronic equipment checkout process that includes code scanners and tags; that way we reduce the negligence and theft. All the expensive equipment should be moved in special cages and locked up. That way the janitors or anybody else wouldn’t have an easy access to them and again, will prevent theft or accidentally damages.
Also, for this area I would recommend an additional number of installed fully monitored cameras as well as for the warehouse. By doing so, these areas will be better protected and the risk for both internal and external theft will be reduced. As for the procedures, there it should be written procedures in place and there it should be a policy that requires training for all the employees, specific for their duties.
These are just some useful recommendation that I can make to ensure the proper operations at magnolia Utilities Citizen group that I think will be useful for this company in reducing the possibility of any unfortunate events. We cannot eliminate any risks but we can significantly reduce them by taking the appropriate actions to prevent them.

References:
Broder, J. F. (2007). Risk Analysis and the Security Survey. (3rd ed. p.45). Burlington, Ma. : Elsevier, Inc.

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